INDIGENT DEFENSE REFORM


We need to eliminate Federal Public Defenders

Court appointed attorneys should handle all Indigent Defense

–With very limited exceptions, all attorneys admitted to practice in a Judicial District should be required to register to represent Indigent Defendants. Exceptions:

  • Prosecutors
  • Judges, including Administrative Law Judges
  • Elected Officials holding full-time elected positions

–Court assures that all attorneys are assigned on a uniform basis

–Hourly compensation for court appointed defense attorneys should be the average hourly rate for Assistant US Attorneys in the District

Market for Indigent Defense.  District courts should not set-up but should allow a market for indigent defense cases to develop.  I expect the market would include the following characteristics.

–The appointed attorney may sell the case to any attorney willing to buy it

–The transaction may involve either attorney paying the other for the case

–The Court may void the sale if it determines the new attorney is not competent to handle the case

–Special rules for law firms

  • Law firms may designate attorneys within the firm as buying attorneys for all cases appointed to members of the firm
  • Intra-firm transfers may be approved by standing order
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